Thank you all for your suggestions.
Tonight I adjusted the applesauce cake recipe passed on to me from my grandmother by way of my mother. The taste was much better, but the results left a bit to be desired.
I'm pretty sure the mistake this time was trying to "dust" the pan with powdered sugar instead of flour. All I can say is, "Don't." It seems the sugar made the cake stick to the pan. Still, all was not lost.
And I've wrapped the "good" part in plastic wrap to see what effect that has on the cake's moistness. I told Hubby he could unwrap it and take a piece to work for breakfast, but he demurred, saying he was getting a little tired of applesauce cake. Of course, as any wife would, I told him that if he loved me, he'd eat it anyway.
Here's a tip I can pass on though. Don't wear a black sweatshirt while baking. The results remind me somehow of Monica Lewinsky after a trip to the Oval Office. I wonder if she ever considered wearing an apron? I wonder if that's why French maids wear aprons?
Tomorrow the bake fest continues. I need about ten of these to turn out right by Saturday. Wish me luck!